Best Of :: Shopping & Services
This year, Erika Records celebrates its 35th anniversary, having grown from a record label into the only female-owned pressing plant in the U.S. Liz Dunster's company churns out about 20 to 40 new releases and 100,000 records per week for bands ranging from Orange County unknowns to major-leaguers such as Metallica, Bon Iver and Jack White. Dunster is also commited to running her shop with a grassroots mentality, valuing any band that walks through the door, big or small. And if you want your vinyl pressed in the shape of a hippo—or anything, really—and in fuchsia, chances are Dunster can have it made for you.
It's really the only mall that showcases everything Orange County has to offer: ocean views, sunny skies, expensive restaurants and lots of dogs. On top of four major department stores—Bloomingdales, Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom—Fashion Island is home to more than 100 other retailers. From affordable wear, designer goods and body-care products to cars, furniture and electronics, this shopping haven has you covered. Not in the mood for shopping? Take a ride at SoulCycle, relax at Big Newport, or kick back and watch people nearly trip into the koi pond—it happens more often than you think.
Readers’ Choice: South Coast Plaza
All the boards UsedSurf takes in on consignment are in excellent condition and available via an online catalog—they have around 400 at any given time and will ship nationally. Or go to the San Clemente warehouse, a.k.a. the Factory, to browse in person or order a custom design from Edit Industries. UsedSurf stocks an extensive array of board fins and offers a board-rental service, too. Ask for Mo.
Readers’ Choice: The Frog House
The name says it all, kids: SAVAGE!
Readers’ Choice: E-cig Emporium
Ditch the time-consuming mess that happens daily with mascara and schedule an appointment with Megan Dunning at Luscious Lashes. Relax in a big, comfy recliner with a super-soft blanket while Dunning, who is somewhat of a perfectionist, works her eyelash-extension magic. When she's finished, be ready for all the compliments, as well as the questions as to where you got them done. The long, full lashes will last three to four weeks, and the best part is it looks as if you're wearing make-up when you're not.
A thousand pounds of Epsom salts will get anyone, no matter how dense the bones, a feeling of weightlessness. You will float. In your own private room, you step naked from the shower to the tank. The water is warm, and while you float, no sound or light will distract you from a trip into a theta-wave state of mind. Claustrophobes can float with the tank door wide open and advance to it being propped open a little bit with a towel. That zero-gravity sensation isn't only for space travelers.
From fancy kitchen stuff at Surfas to fancy home design at HD Buttercup to fancy boutiques to the ever-yummy OC Mix, SoCo Collection combines LA trends with OC ease.
Readers’ Choice: South Coast Plaza
This dealership has the best doughnuts—lots of them. The sales team is likely to have a recently deployed and honorably discharged veteran on staff, someone you'd want on your grandpa's side when buying a new or used car, whether he's paying cash or needs financing. The dealership has switched hands a couple of times over the years while keeping the same staff, all of whom seem extremely happy about their Imperio owners. Wonder if it has anything to do with the endless supply of doughnuts? Or maybe it's that Nissan used to be Datsun? And everyone knows someone who knows someone who at one point had a Datsun B210 that was still rolling past 500,000 on the odometer.
Readers’ Choice: Long Beach BMW Motorcycles
There are plenty of good trial lawyers in Southern California, but few, if any, are better than John Girardi. The veteran Los Angeles-based Girardi, regularly hailed as a "Super Lawyer," has dominated Orange County's courthouses for more than a decade while specializing in product and government-entity liability, as well as employment law and class actions. He doesn't fit the mold of a stereotypical pushy, obnoxious lawyer eager to find a TV news camera. He's well-prepared and unflappable, even when taking on teams of taxpayer-funded opposing counsel prone to courtroom shenanigans and legal trickery. Police agencies here usually triumph in lawsuits, except when Girardi, whose personality and presentations endear juries, is involved. He has represented decent cops harassed by corrupt bosses in Anaheim and Newport Beach and captured damages and fees topping $7 million. Several years ago, he secured a $4.5 million settlement in a case involving a Trinity Broadcasting Network pastor who left a church meeting heavily intoxicated and caused a serious traffic collision.
Readers’ Choice: Christopher Glew
Yeah, the tourists remain annoying, and the Mouse has turned into a real-life welfare queen gracias to massive subsidies by the Anaheim City Council in the form of a no-gate-tax pledge and a promise to hand over tax revenue in exchange for a new hotel. But remember when the Disneyland Hotel was run-down and grungy? Probably not because y'all are young, and we're old fuckers. The Mouse continues to do a magnificent job of tweaking its oldest hotel to keep up with the ever-growing Disnerd hordes, with themed rooms, better eats and the eternal party at Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar. And with the way CEO Bob Iger keeps swallowing up pop-culture icons under the Disney brands, expect Iron Man and Darth Vader to empty your chamber pot in a couple of years.
Readers’ Choice: Montage Laguna Beach
You know a shop is a tattooing Coopers-town when both Bert Grimm and Kari Barba have been owners. But don't mistake Outer Limits for a frozen-in-time museum, even if the original Long Beach spot stands on what's the oldest tattoo parlor in America. Barba continues to train the next generation of ink slingers to keep Outer Limits in the game and make customers happy, whether it's a guy wanting a vivid tableaux on his chest or a Chapman pledge requesting an ugly-ass butterfly on her ass for reasons known only to her sorority sisters.
Readers’ Choice: Outer Limits Tattoo